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This just in…Jaffe, Madigan reappointed; Sambursky to SIU BOT

Friday, Aug 30, 2013

Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)

4:46 p.m. - Not two minutes after comments were closed for the weekend, the Governor’s Office announced the reappointment of Aaron Jaffe as chairman of the Gaming Board…

Judge Aaron Jaffe of Evanston, who has chaired the Illinois Gaming Board since 2005, has been reappointed to Chairman of the Board. Under Judge Jaffe’s leadership, the board has increased openness and transparency in the gaming industry, notably revoking the 10th casino gaming license in order to rebid the license through a fair and open process. He has consistently led efforts to hold entities that violate gaming regulations accountable. Judge Jaffe holds a J.D. from DePaul University.

The board’s vice-chair and former Rep. Michael Holewinski was also reappointed.

* Shirley Madigan, the Speaker’s wife, will also retain her role at the Arts Council…

Shirley Madigan of Chicago has served on the Illinois Arts Council since 1976 and has been Chairman for more than 20 years. Ms. Madigan actively represents the Council to arts organizations, individual artists, government officials, educators and the business and philanthropy communities. Ms. Madigan has a B.A. from Gonzaga University and a master’s degree in education from Loyola University.

* And the last open seat on the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees has a new candidate…

Joel Sambursky of Carbondale is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and a president of Liberty Wealth Management, LLC. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Carbondale Community Arts and is a former president and executive director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Sambursky - Southern Illinois University’s quarterback from 2002-2005 - was inducted into the Saluki Hall of Fame in 2012 for having led the Salukis to three straight football conference championships and appearances at the NCAA National Playoffs. Mr. Sambursky holds a MBA and B.S. from Southern Illinois University.

That’s especially interesting given the fight between the Governor, SIU President Glenn Poshard, and a coalition from Metro-east that were frustrated by the lack of trustees with an SIUE background. So bad was that spat that Senate Democratic leadership helped knock down all of the Governor’s BOT appointments without a single “Yay” vote. As you know, that fight also lead to the ouster of board chairman Roger Herrin, a friend of Gov. Quinn. One has to wonder how that area’s legislators will feel about this Carbondale appointment.

* The Governor also acted on the Chicago State University BOT…

Chicago State University Board of Trustees:

Nikki Zollar of Chicago is the president and CEO of Triad Consulting Services, Inc. and also the president of SafeSpeed, LLC. Ms. Zollar is a former Director of the Illinois Department of Financial Regulation and holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from The John Hopkins University.

* Also…

Lottery Control Board:

Paul Schaefer (reappointment) of Edwardsville is a field director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881 and holds a B.A. from the University of Evansville.

Pollution Control Board:

Deanna Glosser (reappointment) of Riverton is the former president of Environmental Planning Solutions, Inc. and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. Ms. Glosser holds a B.S. from Illinois State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Prisoner Review Board:

Vonetta Rush of Swansea is a program coordinator for East St. Louis School District 189 and holds a M.A. from Lindenwood University a M.A. from Webster University, a M.P.A. and a B.S. from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.

Gotta love the Friday evening news dump.

5:05 p.m. - COMMENTS HAVE BEEN RE-ACTIVATED FOR THE TIME BEING.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   10 Comments      


Reader Comments Closed for the Holiday Weekend

Friday, Aug 30, 2013

Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)

There are plenty of happenings scheduled for this weekend. A commenter pointed out that the Chicago Jazz Festival started yesterday. That goes on through Sunday in Millennium Park.

For the capital city dwellers, stop by Brewhaus on Sunday night. Local music legend Tom Irwin, a friend of the blog, will be playing his weekly set. Joining him this time will be the CapFax Intern Caucus’s very own Owen Irwin. Come on out and hear them Irwin boys play. (It’s not like you have to work on Monday ;)

Also, if you are in the 618: Kansas will be playing the grandstand show at the Du Quoin State Fair along with The Fabulous Thunderbirds Saturday night.

I received quite a few song suggestions for this week’s post. However just before he left you and I to keep the state afloat, Rich sent this video my direction. I’m not quite sure what they are saying, but they have a decent sound…



Possible translation:
Wishing everyone a fun and safe three-day weekend.
We’ll see you back here on Tuesday.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   Comments Off      


Question of the Day

Friday, Aug 30, 2013

Posted by Barton Lorimor

As subscribers already know, (Oh man, it feels good to say that again.) the master of the house is taking some time off over the next couple of weeks and has left the blog in the hands of his intern emeritus.

Blogging will be lighter than usual, but by no means non-existent. I hope you will keep checking in with us to get the latest information and read Oswego Willy’s most recent zinger. Rich is still receiving emails, though I doubt he will be replying as quickly as he would on a normal day. If the subject is more urgent, about the blog, or a potential news item, you can send an email to my personal account: barton.lorimor@gmail.com.

As many of you know, I am at the service of the state these days, which means I am limited to checking in and blogging during the lunch hour and before and after work. That said, I do remember how to make use of the comment section’s banishment hammer of death. Please don’t give me a reason to use it.

Question: What is Miller REALLY doing with his time off? I mean, seriously folks. Many of you have known him longer than me, so your predictions have more background than mine. Snark strongly encouraged. The best answers will be used later on.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   53 Comments      


Illinois’ debt burden

Friday, Aug 30, 2013

* From Reboot Illinois

Back in 1981, Illinois reported $164 million in debt service “interest” expense. By 2012, Illinois’ accumulating debt led to a reported $1.6 billion in interest expense — about 900% higher than in 1981, despite a 95% decline in general interest rates! To boot, Illinois has had a longstanding ‘balanced budget’ requirement in the state constitution, which theoretically constrained state borrowing.

In 1981, Illinois reported $8.4 billion in total liabilities. By 2012, that amount had risen to over $100 billion. And that is just the amount reported by the state under current government accounting standards. These standards have long allowed states to accumulate massive off-balance sheet liabilities for retirement programs for government employees. Truth in Accounting estimates these obligations totaled over $120 billion in Illinois as of fiscal year-end 2011 – an amount about equal to the state’s total reported liabilities.

$164 million in interest expenses in 1981 would be equal to $421 million in today’s dollars, and $8.4 billion in total liabilities in 1981 is equal to $22 billion in 2013 money, so the percentage increases aren’t quite as dramatic as claimed.

Still, that’s a whole lot of debt.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Preserving history or grossly overpriced?

Friday, Aug 30, 2013

* SJ-R columnist Dave Bakke heard a persistent rumor that a single door at the newly remodeled Statehouse cost $240,000, so he decided to check it out

I was directed to several offices that might know the answer: the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office or the Illinois comptroller’s office. I eventually checked with all three. […]

While waiting for a reply [from the House Architect], I went on to Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Madigan. He answered my question by saying it couldn’t be answered, not just yet.

“I’m not sure those numbers actually exist,” he said, “because the itemization isn’t available. Suppliers haven’t turned in those numbers yet. When they do, they will be available.”

* Bakke didn’t think that sounded right, and he eventually got to the bottom of it when Capitol Architect Richard Alsop finally responded…

The total for the doors is $669,608. But, technically, it’s six doors, two for each of three doorways on the west end of the Capitol. So it’s more like $223,000 each for three doorways, not three doors. Just the cost of installation is $78,000, which is included in the total.

“We must remember,” Alsop wrote in his email, “that these are custom doors with carvings that do not exist on a shelf at the local home improvement store. Like many other materials in the building, it takes craftsmen to perform the work necessary to give us the desired and appropriate historic fabric.”

Those are also huge doorways.

* While noting that the money comes from a special bond fund for capital projects, Bakke has serious reservations about the cost…

On the other hand, this is a time of high emotion regarding the state budget. State employees are suffering, retirees are probably going to suffer, Illinois institutions are cutting services because the state can’t pay what it owes them, Illinois’ bond rating is in the toilet, and we are regarded as a leading candidate for the most corrupt, financially irresponsible state in the country.

That’s why it seems disrespectful and even arrogant for state governmental leaders to decide at such a time in the state’s history to spend more on one doorway than my entire house is worth.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      


A huge win amid hopes for unity

Friday, Aug 30, 2013

* Rep. Durkin wrapped this up faster than just about anyone figured only a few weeks ago

Durkin said he had 32 votes going into a closed-door caucus. He only needed 24 to win the job.

Poe, conceding his candidacy fell short of support, said he nominated Durkin and declared, like many of his peers emerging from the meeting, that the House GOP troops now are united.

* Durkin was elected by a vote of acclamation

(W)hen Durkin walked out of it the victor — beaming — Poe was by his side. Poe joked that he’s Durkin’s bodyguard; but he had, in a sense, protected him.

When it became clear Poe didn’t have the votes to clinch a win, he not only took his name out of the running, he was the one to nominate Durkin, for a vote by acclimation. “I think the whole message of the day is: we’re coming out of that room as we’re 47 strong,” Poe says. “And Jim’s our new leader and we’re going to elect more representatives and we’re going to elect a Republican governor. And guess what? The things that are important to Republicans, we’re going to be able to carry those out under Jim’s leadership.”

Durkin — still unable to stop smiling — and was equally complimentary of Poe: “Without getting into specifics, Raymond, uh, his point was that we’re a unified party today,” Leader-Elect Durkin says. “We are more unified today than we have been in a long time. And I can thank Raymond for that. We have a lot of … we have a very diverse caucus, but we’re going to use that diversity to our advantage .”

* Easier said than done

Durkin, 52, replaces outgoing caucus leader Tom Cross, who told members last week he is planning to run for treasurer. Cross held the leadership position for a decade, and came under recent fire from members following a loss of seats last November and a caucus campaign fund that stood at $21,030 in June fundraising reports.

“The positive thing that comes out of here today is that it was a unanimous vote,” Durkin said, following his election as leader. “We’re going to use that energy to move forward and win races.”

* And he’s taking a wait and see attitude on pension reform

He wouldn’t endorse any particular proposal Thursday.

“I want to see what the product is first,” Durkin said. “This is one of many extremely important issues this caucus is going to have to discuss.”

* Rep. Durkin represents half of Senate Republican Christine Radogno’s district, and her public statement was laudatory…

“I have offered my congratulations to Rep. Durkin. I look forward to continuing our work together. We have proven to be an effective team for our constituents. Jim is thoughtful, pragmatic and extremely well versed in the issues of importance to Illinois citizens. I know he is particularly interested in working together with our Caucus to improve the state’s fiscal condition and jobs climate. He shares my view that a comprehensive solution to our pension crisis is critical to those efforts. I congratulate the House Republican Caucus on their choice and warmly welcome Jim.”

* The technicalities

There’s no set deadline for when [Leader Cross will] step down, though the transition is expected to take a few weeks. Even then, the full House will have to take a formal vote when it next convenes in order to make it official. As that happens, Durkin will take on the perks of leadership: higher pay, extra staff, a bigger office

* The first real bright spot for Kirk Dillard in a while

In next year’s governor primary, Durkin backs Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican who lost the 2010 primary by 193 votes.

Discuss.

…Adding… This was my advice to Durkin in comments yesterday

First, heal the wounds. Cross’ search for another office has opened up some deep divisions in your caucus. Those divisions need to be repaired.

No need for retaliation. You won a majority in a matter of a few days and balloting lasted less than an hour. It’s obvious you have the support of a majority, so throw a bone or two to some folks in the opposition.

You have some good, dedicated staffers, but some new blood is absolutely necessary, at the top and at the bottom. Prune the tree carefully, but do prune it.

Before this election, you had a reputation among some members as being aloof and a bit of a jerk. You overcame that today. Don’t go back to that behavior. Keep an open mind and an open door. You don’t have to agree with a member, but be respectful.

Your caucus is obviously deeply split on the pension issue. Urge compromise. Don’t be bullied by Ty Fahner or the Tribune.

Speaking of Fahner, he’s toxic. Put some distance between him and you.

And speaking of the Trib, try to understand that getting a favorable Tribune editorial is the end, not a means. That paper’s influence is declining rapidly.

Remember that if you want any sort of Republican stamp on a bill, you have to work with the majority. Those who want to boycott and abdicate shouldn’t be listened to. Obviously, capitulation is out of the question, but be firm with Madigan and develop a close relationship with Cullerton, which can help you in your dealings with His Royal Highness (something that Cross never understood, but Daniels did with Rock).

Work harder than you ever have and expect the same from your leaders and your staff.

And, whatever you do, never put bananas in the refrigerator.

…Adding More… Video of the post-game press conference

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      


Raoul mulls endorsement

Friday, Aug 30, 2013

* The Tribune’s Rick Pearson got a few moments with Sen. Kwame Raoul last night

Quinn, seeking a second elected term as governor after replacing the impeached and imprisoned Rod Blagojevich in 2009, traditionally has gotten his strongest support from African-American voters, though Daley maintains that backing is flagging.

Raoul, in an interview with the Tribune outside a downtown fundraising event, said he was not backing either Quinn or Daley but imagines he’ll eventually make an endorsement. “Just right now, I want to turn off (the politics) and focus on getting this job done,” he said.

“This job” refers to his role as chairman of a special legislative conference committee charged with recommending a plan to resolve the state’s $100 billion government worker pension debt. He said negotiators, who met again Thursday, are moving forward and that “it’s a very critical time” in efforts to come up with a plan.

As most of you observed yesterday, Raoul’s statement announcing he wouldn’t run for governor was a classy move.

The guy looks like he has a real future, but the stars don’t always line up as well as they seemed to be this time around. Maybe Lisa Madigan figures that her only way up the ladder is a 2016 US Senate bid, since she says she can’t run for governor as long as her father is the House Speaker. Lots of things can happen.

Whom should he endorse, if anyone?

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Friday, Aug 30, 2013

* Mike Riopell talked to former Congressman Joe Walsh, who says he may run for US Senate

“I’m still considering a run in 2014,” said Walsh, now a WIND-AM talk show host who hinted at a run for governor days after his 2012 loss.

The McHenry Tea Party favorite says he’s keeping his options open, but the only race he named Thursday was U.S. Senate.

“It’s probably the race that I’m most seriously considering,” Walsh said, adding he’ll decide within a month.

Three’s a crowd?

So far, Republicans Doug Truax of Downers Grove and Chad Koppie of Gilberts have talked about a 2014 bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield.

Truax has been a fairly active candidate so far and is in the race “no matter who enters the Republican primary,” said his spokesman, Dan Curry.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Caption contest!

Friday, Aug 30, 2013

* We’ll have more on Rep. Jim Durkin’s election as House GOP Leader later this morning. For now, let’s welcome him to the fray with a caption contest…

Yesterday’s winner was Oswego Willy for a multitude of hilarious comments.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      


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Friday, Aug 30, 2013

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PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Today's map: Every state's wealthiest person
* Question of the day
* The Sun-Times' inexcusable reefer madness
* Today's long read
* How times change
* 4,700 percent increase in Chinese students at UIUC since 2003
* Pollapalooza
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* Cook moves Enyart district from "Lean D" to "Toss-up"
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